His Poppies Remind Me to Paint

Our artist friend gave us these seeds. I will always think of Bill when they bloom.

His lovely paintings cover our walls. I regret not learning from him.

I was busy with two small children and building a house and a career.

I think about things like that now.

I test the value of what I have chosen to do and what I have been forced postponed.

These poppies remind me to paint.

My female heroes from the past were artist: Marianne North, Beatrix Potter, Margaret Mee, Mary Delaney, and Maria Merian.

I will pack my paint pens this week. I will paint a few plant-marker stones if it rains.

I will remember Bill Troutman and his talent, as I paint while his poppies bloom.


Double Trouble

I am a sucker for those heavy, double blooms. I love them despite their neediness.

Duchess de Nemours peony

They are the over-achiever flowers. They need extra care because they go for broke blooming.

Double bloom of Bill Troutman’s poppies

Rain wreaks havoc on them. Their poor little heads bow down with the water weight.

Duchess de Nemours peony

They need staking and shaking.

Sarah Bernhardt peony

Who can resist such extravagance?

My great grandma Pearson’s pink peony from Ohio

I will shake and stake every spring because these doubles are irresistible.

Karl Rosenfield peony


The Artist’s Poppies

I wait for them every spring. Sometimes there are hundreds. Other years there are dozens.

I dread the spring there are none. I hope I never see it.

Bill Troutman gave me these seeds decades ago.

His stand of them was right next to the street. The blooms were all doubles back then.

Over the years, single blooms started appearing. Now, there are mostly singles.

I have tried to save the seeds of the doubles over the years, but I do not know that it matters.

I feel responsible for saving his poppies. Plants are a responsibility, so is land.

Humans tend to see everything as a possession with a dollar value. There will always be money.

The artist is long gone. All that remains are his paintings and his poppies.

They are both valuable beyond measure to me.


Poppies and People

I have strong feelings about these flowers.


The seeds were a gift from an artist friend decades ago.

Bill Troutman  is no longer alive, but his poppies bloom each May to remind me of this wonderful man.

The blooms remind me of Bill, but the pods remind me of how people ruin things.


Opium can now be produced synthetically, by-passing the poppy.

Some places still use this plant’s sap to produce the drug.


Humans make the drug. Poppies are just plants.

They do what plants are supposed to do. Make flowers and seeds.

I love these poppies.


Poppies don’t make opium, people do.




Popping Poppies

Every year when the poppies pop, I walk through them in awe.


How could they be this red? …this beautiful?  …this perfectly made?

I hope I never lose the feeling I get when looking into a poppy bloom.


They are marvelous. They are spectacular.

How can a tiny black speck grow into such magnificence?


Let me add the lesson the poppies have taught me.

I have planted them various places in my gardens over the years,

but they thrive in a place that I would prefer that they not grow.

They love the edge of our vegetable garden.


Mr. Flower has to plow around them.  We have to plant around them.

We let them stay here because we love them so much.

My saying for me has been “Grow where you are planted”.

Now that I have young adult children, my saying for them is,

“Plant yourself where you can grow”.

The poppies taught me this.

They thrive and bloom best where they plant themselves,

NOT where Mama Flower sowed their seeds.


POP goes the FLOWER!

Seeds in Sand

I am ashamed to admit that I usually don’t mix my small seeds with sand.

It can be seen on my hand how this mix would better space the seeds.

Poppy seeds are also tiny and tend to blow while sown.


This leads to over-crowding and the need to thin seedlings.


Sometimes I wait too late to thin, which disrupts the roots of the plants left.

Last week I mixed my poppy seeds with sand before sowing them.


I liked that I could see where I had sown the seeds.


Hopefully, this year’s poppies will be less crowded than last year’s crop.

If I have given you my red, double “Bill Troutman” poppy seeds; you need to sow them soon.   They are early risers.